Terpenes: More Than Cannabis’ Way to Smell Good

Terpenes: More Than Cannabis’ Way to Smell Good

–      Common terpenes in Cannabis are found in many other plants and have a variety of effects.

When you look at plants, they seem inactive. They appear to only respond to the wind or other outside factors. However, that it isn’t the case. Plants are incredibly active and spend their lives fighting for survival in the same way animals do. They only appear inactive because they aren’t highly mobile. Their fight for survival happens mostly on their insides.

Plants are loaded with a vast array of compounds. From waxes and lipids to antibacterial compounds that protect them against microbial invasions, plants contain hundreds of different compounds. For Cannabisplants, this is no different. While they come with medicinally valuable and psychoactive compounds, they also contain a high number of terpenes. Their terpenes give the different cultivars their smells, tastes, medicinal properties, plant defenses, and more. However, the terpenes that we find in cannabis plants are also found in other plants, as well.

Let’s take a look at some of the terpenes found in cannabis, what they’re known for, and what other plants we can find them in. Some of the terpenes found in cannabis and other plants include online marijuana marketplace:

  •      Linalool
  •      Myrcene
  •      Limonene
  •      Pinene
  •      Ocimene
  •      Geraniol
  •      Valencene
  •      Camphor
  •      And more


Here, we’ll examine a few of these terpenes a bit more closely to see where they can be found and what they can offer humans.


To begin with, let’s look at linalool. It’s a terpene that, in a 2010 study, was researched for its effects on anxiety. In the study that appeared in Phytomedicine, the researchers indicated that linalool “showed anxiolytic properties in the light/dark test, increased social interaction and decreased aggressive behavior” when inhaled by small mammals. Additionally, the researchers noted that their data suggested that “inhaling linalool rich essential oils can be useful as a mean to attain relaxation and counteract anxiety.”

So, it might be unsurprising to learn that linalool is found in plants like lavender, grapes, and thyme. If you’ve ever smelled or consumed those plants, you’ll know from experience the calming sensation that can follow.


Next, let’s look at valencene. If that name sounds familiar, you might have heard it in the name of Valencia oranges. Unsurprisingly, these sweet fruits are packed with valencene. However, valencene is more than a delicious smelling terpene that makes oranges taste great. A recent study pointed out what more it can offer than its outstanding organoleptic properties.

In Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, a 2016 study showed how valencene can play an important role in reducing certain forms of dermatitis. In the report, the researchers said, “our results showed that topical application of VAL ameliorates atopic dermatitis symptoms and itching behavior,” and that valencene also “not only modulated the inflammatory response, but also enhanced the expression of the skin barrier protein, involucrin.” In essence, the researchers concluded that valencene combats atopic dermatitis.

Found in more than oranges and cannabis, valencene is also a noteworthy terpene found in mango, Chinese bayberry, olive oil, and other citrus fruits.


Camphor is another terpene you may have heard of before knowing that it’s found in cannabis plants. Camphor is primarily found in camphor trees, Japan’s largest hardwood. Camphor is often placed in topicals because it is readily absorbed by the skin. A 2005 study in the Journal of Neuroscience showed that this type of application comes with a strong analgesic effect even though its exact mechanism isn’t well understood.

As described in PubChem, camphor not only acts as an analgesic, but has anti-inflammatory, anti-cough, and even insect-repellant properties.

Outside of the Asian hardwood and cannabis plants, camphor can also be found in the unrelated kapur tree, Dryobalanops aromatica.


Geraniol is an interesting terpene. While generally loved for its aromatic qualities, it also has industrial uses, like preventing mosquito bites. However, it’s more important to humans than that. In a 1997 study that appeared in Microbios, researchers looked at the antibacterial and antifungal properties of several compounds, including geraniol. What they found was that geraniol was able to effectively stave off 16 or the 18 bacteria tested. Of the 12 fungi tested, geraniol inhibited all 12 of them.

If you’re looking to smell the beautiful scent of geraniol, you need do no more than stop and smell the nearest rose. Outside of roses and cannabis, geraniol is also found in geraniums, lemongrass, and citronella plants.


If you’ve ever used a cologne, chances are high that you’ve covered yourself with ocimene; it’s found in many perfumes since it has a sweet and herbaceous scent. More importantly, however, ocimene appears to have anti-fungal properties. A 2015 study in the Journal of Natural Medicines spoke to those properties more closely. According to the research, not only does ocimene present low levels of cytotoxicity, but it also seems to show great potential as an “antifungal agent against fungal species frequently implicated in human mycoses, particularly cryptococcosis and dermatophytosis.”

Ocimene is a more ubiquitous terpene in nature as its found in many plants, especially in their leaves and flowers where they act as an attractor for pollinators, according to a 2017 study in Molecules.

Terpenes are Everywhere

In far more plants than just cannabis varieties, species across the world utilize terpenes for a range of different uses. As humans, we are just beginning to grasp the full context of how we can use them.